This is the second article in a four-part series addressing the subject of salvation and what it means to “believe the Gospel”. The first article was entitled Salvation – the Gospel.
Mark 1:14-15 (KJV) – “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Salvation begins with believing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Our believing allows us to enter into a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. Our believing should naturally lead us to “repent”. Most of the “Jews” of Jesus’ day “believed” on Jesus. However, these same “believers” were responsible for His death. Jesus cautioned them in the 8th chapter of John when he said:
John 8:30-31 (KJV) – “As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; “
The ministries of both John the Baptist and Jesus began and concluded with a call to repentance:
Luke 24:47 (KJV) – “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
What is Repentance?
First let’s discuss what repentance is not. Repentance is not just an emotional feeling. It is first and foremost a decision. True repentance is directly linked to a change of mind, attitude and purpose about our life and sin. Paul, who is considered the Apostle to the Gentiles had this to say about his mission:
Acts 26:18 (KJV) – “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
Paul’s mission was to wake up the Gentiles and open up their eyes. Repentance would turn them from a life of darkness to one of light and life. Satan’s power over their lives would be broken. The “inheritance” Paul is referring to is the believer’s adoption into the household of faith. To make the decision to turn away from sin is what it means to repent. Repentance leads one away from actions that lead to eternal death. Our turning away from sin is a type of death. It’s a surrender to self-rule. Christ can now control our lives and guide our decisions. John, the Evangelist, had this to say about repentance:
1 John 1:8-9 (KJV) – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What does it mean to “confess”? To “confess” means to put thoughts into words. With a humble attitude, we tell God how we have fallen short and express our desire to turn away from sin. At the same time, we invite His presence into our lives. We ask Him to save us from ourselves. We ask Him to be our Lord and Saviour. Our desire is to love, serve and obey Him.
While repentance is toward God it also leads us to repair wounded relationships with others. It starts with a clearing of the conscience of bitter feelings toward others. Our relationship with God will never be right unless our relationships with others is also right. Repentance is an important step in leaving the family of Satan and joining the family of Jesus Christ.